General Advice for Students

Advising: Donald Smith and Melissa Siebert are the advisors for philosophy majors. If you have questions about course content, philosophy concentrations, or direction post graduation, you can schedule an appointment with Professor Smith via email ( For any other questions or concerns including course scheduling, graduation requirements, or navigating VCU, please schedule an appointment with Melissa Siebert through SSC/Navigate.

  1. Student Life

    Be sure to get a copy of the VCU Insider Calendar/Planner, which is free for all students. (You should have gotten a copy at registration, but if not, you can pick one up in the Student Commons.) It has all sorts of useful information about what's available at VCU. It also contains copies of a number of important VCU policies, and information about important services such as: Student Health Services, University Counseling Services (for problems of stress and anxiety, study skills, etc.), Career Counseling Services (for jobs and graduate school), the Library, the Writing Center, Computing Services (for opening a computer account), and the Bookstores.

  2. The Philosophy Club 

    This is a student organization that sponsors discussion sessions, lectures, public talks on issues in philosophy, and that organizes social activities (e.g., lunch, picnics, bowling). Participating in these activities is a good way to meet other students, and learn more about philosophy.

  3. Applying for Graduate School

    Your advisor can provide you with information about applying for graduate school. You should probably apply to at least five programs including some very competitive programs and some that are less so. Your advisor can help you select appropriate programs. By the end of your junior year you should start writing away for applications, and arranging to take the GREs. You should keep in mind that two very important parts of your applications are a sample paper and your letters of recommendation. For this reason you should make sure that you take several courses with some professors who think highly of your work (so that they can write strong letters of reference). In addition, you should be sure that you have written at least one paper that shows you at your best. Information about graduate schools is available through the Career Counseling Center in the Student Commons. For graduate programs in philosophy your best source of information is the Guide to Graduate Programs in Philosophy. This lists all the graduate programs and provides useful information on each. 

  4. Finding a Job

    VCU Career Services provides a broad range of services. Remember that letters of reference are important, and so it is in your interest to take several courses with some professors who think highly of you.